Prime Minister's Wife

Short Story by Stan Ageira, Mulki  

September 16, 2014

25th May 2014.

I have been waiting for my husband’s call with great excitement. Who am I? At this moment, my name is inconsequential. It is unimportant.  The importance lies in my tryst with destiny. Tomorrow will be a day to remember for all of us. Believe me, tomorrow my husband will take oath as country’s Prime Minister at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Would I be invited to this momentous event?

I live in substandard and ill-furnished two-room house. Do you think I am crazy to address myself the wife of Country’s Prime Minister?  I am not looking for any unmerited name and fame. This is the truth. I am Prime Ministerial candidate’s wife. Tomorrow onwards you too will join in chorus of approval and will address me as ‘Prime Minister’s wife.’

I do not own this shabby place. I have been living with my brother’s family for so many years. The dependency on my brother, his wife and their children is unquestionable. My brother runs a grocery shop that is attached to residence. A door from shop leads to entrance of our house. It opens out to our living room. The worn out table is best what we have. A variety of grocery items are stored disorderly in living room. Next room is our kitchen cum bedroom. We have to manage our living with best available options. A small TV set is positioned over a tin trunk at the corner.

Do I live in pitiful and miserable condition? How could ‘would-be’ Prime Minister’s wife is so inadequately placed? Prime Minister travels in posh cars, luxurious aircrafts and classy helicopters. Assistants, helpers and security guards escort him at every step. He is known for sartorial dress sense and healthy dietary habits. Is it a national shame? Prime Minister’s wife has no house of her own. If not for my brother’s shelter, I would have been in greater crisis.

Does it sound pathetic and unpleasant?

We were married in the year 1968. Then he was eighteen and I was seventeen. Plausibly we lived together for first three years of our wedded life. However, it is debatable if we ever spent time collectively for more than 3 months. Born in a close-knit community, our fathers were great friends. They proposed and arranged our marriage. I respected the tradition and accepted him as my husband without any deliberation. It came to my realization much later that he had unwillingly married. Eyewitnesses confirmed, he had requested his father to cancel the wedding a day prior to marriage. Nonetheless, his father had declined citing expected adverse reaction if backed out from commitment. His intentions were noble. He was not prepared to inflict distress to our family members. 

I have a question to all honorable men who are married by parental pressure. Do you abandon your wife and run away from marital commitments? Do you leave her in weak and helpless condition? Of course, he was obsessed in political ambitions. Believe me; I would not have hampered his growth. I would have been supportive and would have drawn pleasure from his achievements.

During initial days of our marriage, he showed interest to converse. He helped me in kitchen work. Gradually he drifted away. Party work turned out to be his priority. He preferred travelling and infrequently appeared. Like any other newly married bride, I too eagerly awaited for my husband to get home. It was like sitting at dried up sea and waiting for tide to come.

Tide of life never turned on my favor. Woes and miseries continued. His initial interest in me slowly died down.

As a teenage girl, I had dreams. Who does not have dreams? You must be inquisitively pondering if we had physical intimacy while we stayed together. I would rather not answer this question with due respect in keeping up dignity of marriage. Steadily, he had begun avoiding me. He stopped visiting my in-law’s home when I was present. He stayed with his parents while I was absent. If we met by default, he always asked one question.

“You are young. Why can’t you continue your education?” Now I assume his intentions were obvious. The means of escape from relationship was already devised.

Perhaps the dreams to be a national leader were already in place. Commitment towards marriage had become irrelevant. I was ignorant. My wishful dreams continued to live within me. A normal married life could have had been wonderful. I hoped he would return to my life and turbulence will end. That was not ought to be. He remained self-centered. I was trapped in a dark tunnel, searching for corners of light. I was not educated enough to be on my own. He was focused in his political ambitions. I was signaled ‘undesirable’ with no role to play in his life. He reveled being in public limelight.

The situation tested my character. I had to recover before losing out weak and defeated.

The defeat, the heartbreak and the loss enthused me to endure adversity. Finally, I had decided and shifted back to my father’s house. At seventeen, I had left my education halfway due to marriage. In 1974, I appeared for grade 10 examination after six years of forlorn married life. I became a teacher in 1978 after passing teacher’s course. Teacher’s job went on until 2009 and ended up with retirement. After the death of my parents, I lived with my brother and his family. They have been supportive all these years. I am beholden and indebted to them.

Being human, I tend to be critical on his attitude towards me. What was my fault? I had been victim of circumstances. Once he even asked me to marry someone else. I could not even think of it. Despite living separately, I have always accepted him as my husband. We have never considered legal separation. Hence, I believe, he will always be my husband and I am his faithful wife. I too had dreams of having a family like any other married couples.  Little I knew what fate in store for me. In a way, I should not blame him or anyone else. Perhaps life is driven by destiny.

Fulfillment of wishes in life is always probable and not guaranteed. 

In contrast, my husband’s life has been always choice driven. He did not wait for success. He went after it. He is my husband. I have kept a close watch on his moves. I have read articles and news stories about him. I have seen his campaigns, rallies and speeches whenever covered by TV channels. His term as chief minister of state had been one my proudest moment. Nevertheless, they were his moments of life. Would there be ever ‘our’ moments?

Do I deserve this? At times, bitterness lingers within. May be, in life everything happens for a reason. We were wedded to live together in marriage. My dream shattered into pieces with no fault of mine. I had lost my hope. However, the recent development kindled a new hope of reunion with my husband.

“Forget him. He does not deserve you.” My brother has repeatedly advised.

It could be true. My husband has shown no signs of coming back during last forty years of unofficial separation. I do feel sad while evaluating his lack of emotions towards me. It is not that we have never met. We happened to catch up couple of times. Once he had visited our town on party work. Overwhelmed by emotions, I had rushed to meet him. He had injured his hand and I had applied ointment on his wound. Second time, he played a role in a drama that was staged here in town. Super excited by occasion, I had watched the stage play. Soon after play was over, I met him joyfully at green room.

“Congratulations. Your acting was top class.” My expression was breathless. 

“Thank you.” His reply was short and impassive.

He showed no interest to cure my inner wounds nor displayed any eagerness to play husband’s role in my life. His detachment recurrently pained my inner self. Dreams come as package with every married woman. I too had desires of home of our own, warmth of husband, joys of pregnancy, playful noisy children, and to play a role in their growth. I wanted to experience the mission of married life in keeping up family healthy physically and mentally. Sorry to say, nothing happened. However, one thing is true. If we had lived together, I would have helped to prevent ghastly riots in 2002 and if not, would have certainly tried to minimize damages. 

At this moment of life, I am 62-year-old retired teacher living on pension. Most of time is spent on devotional and religious activities. My daily routine includes temple visits, sharing consecrated food with devotees and children. I had believed that my life would never change until my last breath. In a hopeless condition, a new hope ascended like crack of dawn. Now I should be poised to step out from darkness.

The party had already declared my husband as prime ministerial candidate before national election. On ninth of April 2014, my husband while filing nomination mentioned my name as his wife. Supreme Court’s judgment had made it mandatory to fill spouse name in nomination form. If he had indicated his marital status as single, I would not have gone public. He was aware of our unspoken agreement. 

However, by publicly acknowledging me as his wife, he had responded from his heart. He felt no shame in declaring truth. He could not betray his conscience. Somewhere, deep within he cared and accepted our relationship. I was moved. 

My confidence in him suggested he would become the prime minister of this country.

I prayed endlessly and went for pilgrimage for his success. Pre-election poll signaled he would end up victorious. The waves of his triumph were visible everywhere. Election results were declared. It was conclusive victory for my husband’s party. Opposition had suffered heavy defeat. I was delighted and thanked God.

What is wrong in having swarming desire to attend my husband’s swearing in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan?

I have been waiting for his call from last one week. I am sure he would invite me. My heart says so. He would be the Prime Minister of our country. He can reach me no time. People are aware of my relationship with proposed Prime Minister. Government agencies should be having my address and telephone number. The oath ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan will see more than 4000 guests including chief ministers, political leaders and well-known celebrities. Government heads of neighboring countries will attend with their delegations.

In a way, I am surprised. I am his wife. I am yet to receive a call. Why is it so? I am not tired looking out my window expecting some government official to turn up. Prime minister can easily arrange airlift by helicopter. In today’s world, travelling is as easy as pie.

“Cops are here to meet you.” My brother appears from Grocery shop.

Cops are here! My heart skips a beat. There is always light at the end of tunnel. All these days I had this intuition. My dream will come true. Perhaps my husband has done arrangements for me to be present tomorrow at Rashtrapati Bhavan. This could be a turning point of my life. If all goes well, my right to live at 7-race course road will be a reality.  I am overpowered by emotions like an irresistible surging sea.

“Namaste.” I customarily bow to greet them. “You must have been advised by my husband.”

“We have instructions from central government.” The cop replies.

“I know my husband wants to me witness tomorrow’s swearing in ceremony at capital. Time is short.” I eagerly go on. 

“I am not aware of it.” He shrugs off. “We have made arrangements for your security. As Prime Minister’s wife, you will be eligible for 24 hours protection. Four armed police officers in vehicle will keep a watch on surroundings and movements in this town. A constable will be present with you round the clock.”

‘Why do I need security? I believe in God for protection. All I wish is my husband’s presence in my life.’ Words come readily to my tongue that I withhold. I look around trying to hide the tears in my eyes. I feel mocked by shabby hut like house. Sensing the defeat, I gently walk inside.
….. …. ….
26th May 2014.

Today people of all ages of our country are glued to their TV sets to watch Prime Minister and his cabinet’s oath ceremony. Sitting in front of TV with my brother’s family, I look at my husband as he walks towards podium at forecourts of Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

“I... do swear in the name of God.” He declares. “That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of … that I will faithfully and conscientiously discharge my duties…” 

I watch the proceedings with lack of attention. Preoccupied with thoughts, questions swirl in my mind. Is it worthwhile to prioritize the commitment to country with no responsibility towards wife and family? Can all desert their spouses with pretext of social and patriotic reasons? If such tendency turns customary in our society, what would be the fate of institution of marriage?

‘You failed in fulfilling marital commitment. However, People of country have given you clear mandate with great expectations. Please do not disappoint them.’ My heart crackles in exhaustion, igniting fire of words within me.

Disclaimer: Though this story is inspired by news reports, the narration, dialogues & expression appearing in this story is work of fiction. Any resemblance to real, living, dead is purely coincidental. Most important, any similarity to those living/nonliving with dead conscience is entirely accidental & unintentional.

Comment on this article

  • Stan Ageira, Mulki/Dubai

    Sun, Oct 17 2021

    Thanks Ms. Rita for sharing your thoughts. I find your comments are always stimulating to get deeper into the subject. You may please consider 'Non-Resident King' is the sequel to this story. Thanks to all readers for your overwhelming response.

    Agree [2]

  • Ria, Germany

    Tue, Oct 05 2021

    Super writing ,Stan.I am and was a always a fan from your writings.Even though late ,I read this today accidentally seeing the title.And I never knew the reality ,today my heart beats were missed the tacts twice as I went through it.Felt sad .thinking is it happened in our India ?Very brave and waited always for husbands return,even though in her heart she knew it would never happen.Also found something similar to my mothers life.Good one story or reality?Find specially she doesnt even have a house of her own to live.Have to depend on brother and his family.But has security .why ?she is only there to be entered in book as his wife ?because of species to cash?really a womans life is so much worth?May God bless her and give good health always and free her from other evils.Hard life of a wife of one Prime Minister of a land in Asien.Compare it with other wives of Prime ministers of other countries.

    Agree [2]

  • Richard Sanfrancis, Nairobi, Kenya

    Thu, Sep 05 2019

    While the wife's agony is very well reflected in Stan's writing, spare a thought for his mother who he so often uses to show the world he cares !

    Agree [4]

  • Ann, Mangalore

    Mon, Apr 20 2015

    This is real pain of a married woman, neglected the rights of a wife...similar in my case too....more important for many men is fame and name, not family life.Forceful marriages are ways of destruction of family...better not marry and spoil ones life

    Agree [23]

  • Greg D'Cunha, Doha Qatar/Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 22 2014

    This is Wonderful & very objective information. The agony of the wife here is a lesson for all the men to understand a women's feelings. Well written Stan,very impressive it is.

    Agree [15]

  • Krishna, karkala

    Sun, Sep 21 2014

    Dear Author
    Please do not create stories.
    Are you planning sell this story to some masala movie producer ?

    Agree [9]

  • Declan, Mumbai

    Sun, Sep 21 2014

    I can understand your sadness and despair but look at it positively. Instead of being sad thank Almighty God for protecting you and keeping you away from who many see as a Devil in human form.

    Agree [11]

  • shaan, udupi

    Sun, Sep 21 2014

    a man does not understand the feeling of one lady, how he can feel the feeling millions of people. Not deserve to be P.M. He fooled the people just like fooled the his own wife

    Agree [24]

  • James Peter DSouza, Mulky/Abu Dhabi

    Sat, Sep 20 2014

    Beautiful Stan. Hats off
    Nice narration.
    Should call it a Mirror or a Mirage?
    Mirror to one - mirror to hundreds
    Mirage of one - could it be a eye opener to the only one??

    Agree [12]

  • Jitu, JSR

    Thu, Sep 18 2014

    "I have a question to all honorable men who are married by parental pressure. Do you abandon your wife and run away from marital commitments? Do you leave her in weak and helpless condition? "

    Of course not! In this country you are considered more honorable if you rape your wife. You are accepted with unquestioned faith for kidnapping, ransom, scams, drug abuse, alcoholism, child killing.. you name it. All of this is 'respectable'. What is not respectable in this country is having an ambition and chasing those dreams. What is not acceptable in this country is asking your wife to pursue education. How could he dare to demand such blasphemy? How dare he expect a woman to move on? He was not born into that modern thinking society... He should not have dared.

    And of course... in a country where the President and dozens of her distant relatives guzzle property worth millions, how can anyone's separated wife live on her own salary? The country's wealth should have been poured at her feet so that the Prime minister's honorable fans like this author can get another chance to point fingers at the PM and say.... he resorted to nepotism. Poor countrymen... they lost a chance of accusing the PM of nepotism. How dare he strip the country of that sheer joy of assassinating the character of a PM? How dare he not use the resources at his disposal in capacity as a PM for personal use... for his wife,mother, family, neighbors? He should first think of them... lest the world judges him less

    Agree [6]

  • Tony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney

    Thu, Sep 18 2014

    Wonderful story, fiction or not, written and narrated impeccably in an inimitable style, and I immensely enjoyed reading. Stan, I like all your earlier writings, and you have done it again!

    My heart goes to the lady (the wife) who has sacrificed a lot and has led rather a lonely and saintly life throughout, and God bless her. While the husband to be blamed partly for the situation because he did not have the courage to go against will of his parents and also because of his ambitious political aspirations, the society itself to be largely blamed because of the prevailing and primitive traditions and customs.

    Agree [8]

  • J N Lobo, Mumbai

    Thu, Sep 18 2014

    Very well written. I feel sad for that lady.

    Agree [6]

  • Asiya Sajid, Kaup, Udupi

    Thu, Sep 18 2014

    He don't deserve you because he is not human.

    well written story, Thank you and God Bless.

    Agree [9]

  • Mehita, MANGALORE

    Wed, Sep 17 2014

    Felt very emotional while reading. An attempt to sneak into the heart of an unfortunately lucky lady. She put up a very bold face in public. That is the "maryada" of Indian women, to suffer in silence and be exalted for being a sacrificial goat. Sad indeed. Yes, "he did not deserve her" at all. A man so selfishly ambitious. Still there is time for him. And if he does, the whole Nation will love him for that. Thanks to Stan, for giving a thought to think of 'her' mind.

    Agree [10]

  • A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.

    Wed, Sep 17 2014

    Nobody can hide the truth for ever!

    Agree [9]

  • Thomas Cutinho, Dubai

    Wed, Sep 17 2014

    Superb writings. This is really a true story of of an (un)fortunate wife of a country's great leader....

    Agree [12]

  • M A RAHIM, Moodbidri

    Tue, Sep 16 2014

    Great writing and very great title which led me to read the article. Appreciate your vision and knowledge.

    Agree [10]

  • Sharath Vittal, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 16 2014

    Beautiful writing again by Stan, I have become a fan of yours. I too had similar ideas and thought someone can bring this onto a story line...
    I am inspired by your writing style , would like to learn and attempt something like this if time permits.

    Agree [9]

  • Richard Qatar, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 16 2014

    Hi Stan,

    Excellent thought provoking reflection. Though the names are not mentioned one could easily get connected to the real persons. Good research... Keep writing.

    Agree [10]

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